Do Americans Still Want Large Vehicles?by Tim Manni
First it was trendy to go “green.” Then high gas prices made it economical to buy small. Now the government is pushing GM to change their design process. It seems as though all the pieces are in place to get American car buyers to purchase smaller vehicles.
Some of our readers don’t seem to think so. “Mark,” a sales manager at a Chrysler dealership in Minnesota, says despite what the media has been reporting, their sales numbers indicate that Americans are still buying big vehicles.
Safety may be one of the biggest reasons Americans continue to buy big. While safety standards for smaller vehicles have improved consistently over the last decade, you can’t argue that weight translates, at least partially, into safety:
Put another way, having better fuel economy and being surrounded by air bags does not counter the unyielding freight train of physics. Consider the differences in weights.
Minicars typically weigh 2,500 pounds or less. The Smart Fortwo weighs about 1,800 pounds. A midsize sedan is about 3,300 pounds. A large sedan is about 4,000 pounds, and a four-wheel-drive sport utility vehicle is about 5,500 pounds.
“Almost everything you hit in the real world is more capable of causing damage to you if you are in a small, lightweight car than in a larger, heavier one,” [Adrian Lund, President of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety] said.
What do you think — are you ready to embrace this new trend of smaller vehicles?